Santee Solutions

Laura Puts Santee First!

As a longtime business executive with tremendous results in the public, private and non-profit sectors, I believe I bring a different perspective to City Council Meetings. The ability to cherish the old and embrace the new is definitely a skill needed as a council member.

In my first year and a half, I have learned there are many competing priorities in our city. I see my role as a listener, fact finder and problem solver. With that approach comes the need to prioritize constituent concerns (nice to have versus need to have) and be pragmatic when it comes to financing. Empathy is also very important in a public service role. I understand there are many reasons why some processes in government are slow, but my career has been driven by results, so I will keep pushing forward!

COVID-19 & Santee

When businesses were shut down (including a sector of mine) due to the COVID-19 outbreak, business owners in Santee looked for help. I raised my hand to provide leadership and guidance for dozens of people representing a wide array of Santee businesses, helping us navigate the State Reopening Guidelines and San Diego County Health, Safety and Sanitation Protocols. Every week I participate in either The League of California Cities, San Diego County COVID-19 Taskforce and/or White House calls to learn, ask questions, and keep ahead of changes in policy.
I voted to allocate grants and funds for rent/mortgage relief (both residential and commercial), Santee businesses, the Santee Food Bank, Santee Santas, and I pushed to include funds for our local YMCA and Boys & Girls Club so they could reopen summer camps. The struggle has been painful. The relationships and partnerships built, invaluable.

Traffic and the Highway 52 Coalition

As a founding member, financial contributor, active participant in this community group, and resident of East County for 55 years (29 in District 3 in Santee), I understand the traffic chokepoints in our east county network of freeways. The Highway 52 Coalition recognizes it will take a multi-pronged approach to “Fix the 52” and is pursuing partnerships well beyond the scope of SANDAG.

Not Fit for East County

I appreciate new ideas and innovative thinking, but the proposed mass transit solutions we’ve seen so far do not fit East County needs. Our construction workers can’t take their tools on the trolley. Our solar installers cannot transport solar panels by bus.

I have been very vocal in my strong belief that SANDAG needs to be part of the solution that funds efficient movement of the workforce, goods and services along the 52 corridor. I will continue to SPEAK UP for East County.

Streamlining the Permitting Process and Upgrading Council Chambers
An initiative of mine was to improve customer service by streamlining the permitting process and other city services through an online suite of tools. Very soon you will have the ability to have your planning department requirements fulfilled online at YOUR convenience. I understand that time is money, so the ability to schedule, track, and accurately calculate a project and fees for inspection and permitting in a central online location is a win-win for everyone.

In addition and without using money from the General Fund, we will move forward with an upgrade to the Council Chambers that will replace the outdated audio, visual and voting system and will provide broadcasting and streaming of meetings so constituents may watch council meetings from the comfort of their own homes.
Housing, Transportation & Electricity, Oh My!

How does Santee become part of the housing solution on our own terms? I voted to remove barriers and fees associated with building ADUs (Granny Flats) in Santee, but we need to do more!

Legislators in Sacramento seek to take away our local control. SANDAG, the entity responsible for deciding which transportation projects are funded and setting our housing requirements locally has been legislated by Sacramento (AB805) to disenfranchise nearly 1.5 million of us. The new weighted voting structure gives the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista the ability to spend our tax dollars and overturn any vote of the cities without cause- and they’ve done it! This means that if you live anywhere other than those cities and have different transportation goals, you have NO representation. They will fund their local projects, but Fixing the 52 is a broken promise.

Additionally, our Sustainable Santee Climate Plan (which I voted to approve) calls for us to join a CCA (Community Choice Aggregate) to purchase electric power. With the promise of cheaper rates and greener emissions, some pushed for the City of Santee to join similar local CCAs with the same voting structures (weighted votes) or the same language that created the loophole to change the voting structure to a weighted vote. If funds are ever realized from a CCA, why would ANYONE advocate for a voting structure that does not protect the citizens of Santee? I will continue to fight for a partnership that protects our interests in Santee.

Green Initiatives

Besides voting to approve the Sustainable Santee Climate Plan and personally facilitating a grant for 250 trees to be planted in our city in 2019, I led the charge to make all Santee Parks smoke free.

I believe our approach for tackling climate change should be based in reality and focused on innovation, conservation, and adaptation. This will take a partnership between business, thought leaders and the community.

Americans are leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and I will champion realistic and innovative strategies to promote a cleaner environment that protect the interests of Santee residents.

250 Trees Planted in Santee

In my first month on the job I helped facilitate a grant through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the California Urban Forest Council and West Coast Arborist for 250 trees to be planted around Santee. Not only is this a cost-savings of thousands of dollars in trees and maintenance, the trees will help us meet the goals of the Sustainable Santee climate action plan.

EV Charging Stations

Another focus for me is to help Santee reach our clean energy goals with the installation of more EV charging stations. I am in discussions with representatives of SDG&E discussing grant funding options

A Voice for Santee Seniors

I have spent a lot of time listening to our seniors about their concerns and will continue to advocate on their behalf. Like all citizens, they want to feel safe in the community. My participation in several D3 Neighborhood Watch groups, SMOAC, and the Santee Community Collaborative as a participant and speaker for their Words Matter series represents a small portion of my involvement.

I have been actively involved in the process to bring community services to Santee for many years and believe I can help find innovative solutions to fix the gaps in community services we have today, regardless of lack of funding.

Get In Touch

Laura Koval for Santee City Council District 3
9625 Mission Gorge Road STE B2 Box 102
Santee, CA  92071